When was the last time you took a photo of your self?
Every day I read on my Facebook groups about how fellow photographers dread taking their own photos.
Many say they don’t like how they look. Many others say they don’t know how to and countless others simply don’t find they’re photogenic enough.
I get it. We’re are our own worse critic. We’re constantly nip picking ourselves apart and are never satisfied with our looks.
I used to do this, A LOT. I didn’t like to look at myself in the mirror. I preferred to be behind the camera instead of in front of it.
I used to have very low self-esteem and didn’t consider myself pretty. It took a very long time for me to be happy with myself and how I look, and honestly I am happier now.
I learned to accept me as I am. I learned to love me first in order to love others.
It also dawned on me that if I wanted my children to have a high self-esteem and learn to love themselves, I had to set the example.
So I decided to do a self portrait each year to celebrate my birthday. I wanted to document each year of my life for THEM. I wanted them to have a portrait of their mom no matter how I looked.
Below are some of the self portraits I’ve taken over the years.
I crochet and used any excuse to make a hat so I can photograph it.
Finding inspiration from celebs is also another excuse to photograph yourself. Jennifer Lopez is my favorite celebrity so when she posted this photo, I had to recreate it. Granted it’s not exactly identical but it doesn’t have to be. That’s what inspiration is all about.
Mood is another reason I take self portraits or if I’m trying out a new preset. On this particular day, I was feeling kinda of down so I took a photo. It turns out that I had the perfect light and preset to bring this image to life. It’s OK to take a photo when you’re down. Life isn’t always happy.
My point is, our kids don’t care how we look. They just care that we are around for them. They care that we’re alive and they can spend time with us.
For that reason, I get in front of the camera each year(and sometimes twice a month, lol).
It has boosted my self-esteem a lot to do this. Sure, half the images are tossed because they don’t turn out the way I imagined but most do come out great and I share them.
Doing these self portraits has made me realize I am beautiful. It’s made me realize that it’s OK to feel good about yourself and it’s OK to love yourself.
I now look forward to them so much, that I’ve actually started brainstorming what kind of session I want to do!
Last year the theme was to have a big tulle skirt and very red lipstick.
This year I made it a little more dramatic. To celebrate a new era of the 20s, I bought myself a Great Gatsby inspired outfit.
I made sure I had everything from the dress to the accessories.
Mind you, I do NOT promote nor condone smoking so this is only part of the theme.
This was by far my favorite self portrait to date! I really enjoyed dressing up and pretending to be a flapper girl 🙂
That’s what it’s all about, having fun! Being yourself is the best thing you can do for YOU.
For my fellow moms and women in general, don’t let this intimidate you. It’s so simple to take a self portrait with your camera. Below, I’ll share my tips of getting the perfect shot that will help you love taking self portraits.
Get yourself an outfit that fits your personality. Or if you want to pretend to be someone else, get yourself something that will showcase that.
Find a place with good light or set up whatever light you have available to you. For some of my shots I used artificial light and window light. I have never used the camera flash or external flash but if you want to, it’s up to you.
Set up your camera and tripod. I used my 50mm and my 24-70mm. The 50mm is a great lens for sharp images. But if you don’t have a lot of room to work with, the 24-70mm will give you a good range without being too cramp.
Set your camera to the Interval timer shooting(Nikon). Select the amount of shots(I set mine to 5 but you can choose more). Canon users click here. I use autofocus on manual mode. I don’t have a trigger but if you do, that’s even better.
Depending on your lighting conditions, set you ISO to between 400-1000. You might want to bump it up if it gets too dark with your natural light. Fstop between 2.2-3.5 and between 1/100 to 1/400 if you’re in a brightly lit area. Some of my shots were directly in front of the sun so I was at ISO640, f/3.2, 1/400.
Place yourself in front of the camera and strike your favorite pose! You might have to hold one pose in order to get a good one. That’s the reason why I set my interval to 5 shots so I can check the back of my camera and see if I got the shot, lol.
It helps if you can set up your camera to tether, that way you can see right away if it’s right. I don’t tether so I do it the hard way, haha. I normally take between 100 to 200 shots and end up with probable 20-50 good ones.
Pick your favorite ones and edit them to your heart’s content. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get good ones on your first try. It happens to me all the time. The cool thing is that you can always try again and again.
Finally, make it a habit to photograph yourself often. Believe me when I tell you that it has really helped me a lot. Not only on a personal level but on the professional one as well.
I can see how much my work has improved by doing this. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done.
If you decide to take the plunge(and REALLY hope you do) share your self portraits with me. I’d love to see them!
Until next time!